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2020 Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50: What are the differences?

How do these workhorse twins compare and contrast? Although they're twins under the skin, there are plenty of differences as well.

3 weeks ago
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Mike Costello
Comparisons Editor

We all know the new Mazda BT-50 was derived from the Isuzu D-Max rather than the Ford Ranger for this generation.

Now we have pricing and specifications for both models, it seems wise to contrast them. We’re lining up a ‘proper’ comparison test when possible, but for now this will hopefully give some insights.

Naturally there are some stylistic differences. The cabins look different too, with divergent vents, trim colours and steering wheel hubs.

Isuzu also offers an extra year of warranty (six versus five), but the former is capped at 150,000km unlike the latter.

In short

  • The D-Max X-Terrain flagship has a hard rolling tray cover, a body kit, and a tub liner, and also drive-away pricing from launch. The BT-50 GT equivalent lacks these add-ons but instead has heated seats and an electrochromatic mirror.
  • The mid-range D-Max LS-U is available in unique (for now) extended-cab body, but the equivalent BT-50 XTR alone has a proximity key fob and button start.
  • The D-Max LS-M stands alone, with all-terrain rubber and heavy duty rear suspension from cab-chassis models.
  • The D-Max SX undercuts the BT-50 XT on price but lacks the Mazda’s LED headlights and rear sensors. It also has carpet floors instead of vinyl.
  • The Isuzu comes in single-cab, extended-cab, and dual-cab bodies. The Mazda is currently dual-cab only.
  • Isuzu has one more year of warranty, but also a distance cap.

Lifestyle pickups: Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain v Mazda BT-50 GT

This pair are the range-toppers, and both are solely dual-cab utes with 4×4.

The D-Max X-Terrain is available with an automatic transmission only, whereas the BT-50 GT is available as a manual or auto.

Isuzu is already selling the top-of-the-range D-Max at special drive-away pricing, whereas Mazda is yet to announce any specific national deals.

  • D-Max X-Terrain: $62,900 before on-road costs ($58,990 drive-away)
  • BT-50 GT: $56,990 before on-road costs (manual) and $59,990 (auto)

Let’s look at features they have in common. The table below shows mechanical and capacities.

Isuzu D-Max X-TerrainMazda BT-50 GT
Engine3.0 litre, 4-cyl, diesel3.0 litre, 4-cyl, diesel
Power140kW @ 3600rpm140kW @ 3600rpm
Torque450Nm @ 1600rpm450Nm @ 1600rpm
Fuel use8.0L/100km7.7-8.0L/100km
Trans6AT6MT/6AT
DrivePart-time 4×4Part-time 4×4
Weight2130kg2025-2035kg
Payload970kg1065-1075kg
Tow rating3500kg3500kg

Now, what about safety features? They both have the longest list of active safety features in the class, across all variants.

Isuzu D-Max X-TerrainMazda BT-50 GT
Airbags EightEight
AEB forward, and turningYesYes
Forward collision alertYesYes
Post-collision brakingYesYes
Active cruise control YesYes (6AT)
Traffic-sign recognitionYesYes
Misacceleration mitigation pedalYesYes (6AT)
Lane-keeping aidsYesYes
Driver attention monitorYesYes
Blind-spot monitorYesYes
Rear cross-traffic alertYesYes
Auto high beamYesYes

What about some key features? Differences in bold.

Isuzu D-Max X-TerrainMazda BT-50 GT
Wheels 18-inch alloy18-inch alloy
Tyres 265/60265/60
Headlights Auto-levelling LEDAuto-levelling LED
Parking sensors Front/rearFront/rear
Side mirrors Power foldingPower folding
Side steps YesYes
Roof railsYes No
Proximity keyYesYes
Remote startYesYes
Tub featuresTub liner, roller hard-tonneau cover, body kit Accessories catalogue
Colours White solid, grey mica, blue mica, red mica, black mica, silver metallic, orange metallic, white pearl White solid, grey mica (x 2), blue mica, red mica, black mica, silver metallic
Touchscreen9.0-inch9.0-inch
Sat-navYes Yes
Apple CarPlayWireless Wireless
Android AutoWired Wired
Camera view ReverseReverse
A/C type Dual-zone climate controlDual-zone climate control
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror No Yes
Seat material Black leatherBrown leather
Seat heating NoYes
FloorsCarpetCarpet

Mid-range: Isuzu D-Max LS-U v Mazda BT-50 XTR

This pair sit a rung below the flagships on the variant totem pole.

Both the D-Max LS-U and BT-50 XTR come in dual-cab body configurations with either 4×2 or 4×4 – the latter with manual or auto transmissions (Mazda charges $500 more than Isuzu for the same Aisin 6AT).

  • D-Max LS-U 4×2 dual-cab ute: $48,900 (auto)
  • D-Max LS-U 4×4 dual-cab ute: $54,900 (manual) and $56,900 (auto)
  • BT-50 XTR 4×2 dual-cab ute: $49,740 (auto)
  • BT-50 XTR 4×4 dual-cab ute: $54,710 (manual) and $57,210 (auto)

They sport the same engine as the range-toppers.

Isuzu D-Max LS-UMazda BT-50 XTR
Fuel use7.7L-8.0L/100km7.7L-8.0L/100km
Trans6MT/6AT6MT/6AT
Drive4×2 and 4×44×2 and 4×4
Weight4×2: 1960kg
4×4: 2035-2045kg
4×2: 1945kg
4×4: 2020-2030kg
Payload4×2: 1040kg
4×4: 1055-1065kg
4×2: 1055kg
4×4: 1070-1080kg

What are some of the key feature differences? If something is not listed in the table, then assume it’s the same as the X-Terrain/GT.

Isuzu D-Max LS-UMazda BT-50 XTR
Parking sensors RearRear
Tub featuresAccessories catalogueAccessories catalogue
Roof rails No No
Body kit NoNo
Handles and mirrors Silver Silver
Seat trim Cloth Cloth
Seat adjust ManualManual
Proximity keyNoYes
Button start NoYes
Remote start NoNo

Workhorses: Isuzu D-Max SX and LS-M v Mazda BT-50 XT

Isuzu offers two workhorse grades called LS-M, and SX, while Mazda offers just the one, called XT.

The LS-M is only available as a 4×4 dual-cab ute body with manual or automatic transmissions. It alone gets all-terrain tyres as standard, and picks up heavier duty suspension from the cab chassis versions.

The D-Max SX dual-cab grades come in cab-chassis and ute body styles in both 4×2 and 4×4 configurations. It’s the same story for the BT-50 XT, though Mazda’s premium for the ute tub over the cab-chassis is $200 greater than Isuzu’s.

  • D-Max SX 4×2 dual-cab chassis: $40,700 (auto)
  • D-Max SX 4×2 dual-cab ute: $41,900 (auto)
  • D-Max SX 4×4 dual-cab chassis: $46,700 (manual) and $48,700 (auto)
  • D-Max SX 4×4 dual-cab ute: $47,900 (manual) and $49,900 (auto)
  • D-Max LS-M 4×4 dual-cab ute: $51,000 (manual) and $53,000 (auto)
  • BT-50 XT 4×2 dual-cab chassis: $44,090 (auto)
  • BT-50 XT 4×2 dual-cab ute: $45,490 (auto)
  • BT-50 XT 4×4 dual-cab chassis: $49,360 (manual) and $51,860 (auto)
  • BT-50 XT 4×4 dual-cab ute: $50,760 (manual) and $53,260 (auto)

They sport the same engine as the range-toppers.

Isuzu D-Max SXIsuzu D-Max LS-MMazda BT-50 XT
Fuel use7.7L-8.0L/100km7.7L-8.0L/100km7.7L-8.0L/100km
Trans6MT/6AT6MT/6AT6MT/6AT
Drive4×2 and 4×44×44×2 and 4×4
Weight4×2: 1825-1950kg
4×4: 1900-2035kg
4×4: 2020-2030kg4×2: 1805-1925kg
4×4: 1880-2010kg
Payload (cab chassis measured pre tray fitment)4×2: 1050-1175kg
4×4: 1065-1200kg
4×4: 1070-1080kg4×2: 1075-1195kg
4×4: 1090-1220kg
Rear leaf suspension Ute: Standard
Cab-chassis: ‘Heavy duty’
Heavy duty Ute: Standard
Cab-chassis: ‘Heavy duty’

What are some of the key feature differences? If something is not listed in the table, then assume it’s the same as the aforementioned.

Isuzu D-Max SXIsuzu D-Max LS-MMazda BT-50 XT
Wheels 17-inch steel17-inch alloy17-inch steel
Tyres 255/65 AT255/65 AT 255/65 AT
FloorsVinyl VinylCarpet
A/CManualManual Manual
Touchscreen 7.0-inch 7.0-inch7.0-inch
Sat-navNoNoNo
Apple CarPlay YesYesYes
Android Auto YesYesYes
Reversing cameraYes Yes Yes
Sensors NoNoRear on ute body
Handles and mirrorsBlack Body colourBody colour
Headlights Halogen LED LED

Wider range

The BT-50 launch range is dual-cab only, but the D-Max’s range is broader from launch.

You can already order the LS-U in Space Cab Ute 4×4 form, and the SX in Space Cab Ute (4×2), Space Cab Chassis (4×4) and Single Cab Chassis (4×2 and 4×4). Read all about those here.


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